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Marlene Haney - Patient Story

“The best place for me is Fox Chase.”

— Marlene Haney, Colon and Breast Patient

When Marlene Haney turned 60 in 2013 she decided the best gift she could give herself was a physical she had been putting off. Self–employed and without supplemental health insurance, she says she had not be in a position to see a doctor for over a decade. When her right breast became tender, she realized a trip to the doctor was necessary.

“The doctor performed a complete physical, including blood work and a mammogram. Then I heard the very frightening news,” Marlene recalls. “They found a spot on my right breast and further testing was required regarding testing of my colon,” recalls Marlene, who decided to tackle her breast concerns first.

Marlene was given the name of three hospitals by her physician. “The first didn’t seem to understand any questions the first time I called so I took them off my list,” she said.

The second facility recommended that her right breast should be removed as soon as possible. “That was scary,” she says. “I decided to call Fox Chase Cancer Center for a second opinion.”

Fox Chase was recommended in the original three from her doctor. She had known a few patients who had successfully been treated there and decided that it was time to make her treatment a priority. “This was my life and I needed to try to find the best place to take care of me,” Marlene says. “The best place for me is Fox Chase.”

Within a few business days she met with Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist who specializes treating patients with breast cancer. 

“I remember thinking how young Dr. Bleicher looked, but he was at the top-of-his game. He was totally professional and treated me with thoughtfulness and respect from our initial meeting,” she says. As opposed to a mastectomy which was recommended by the first doctor, Dr. Bleicher believed Marlene could be successfully treated with a lumpectomy. "Knowing that breast conservation was a viable option made me very happy. I trusted Dr. Bleicher's recommendation and knew he was the best choice."

As part of her multidisciplinary care team at Fox Chase, Marlene was referred to a medical oncologist, Lori Goldstein, MD, who specializes in breast cancer and a surgical oncologist, Elin Sigurdson, MD, PhD, FACS, who treats patients with gastrointestinal cancers. It turned out that Marlene also presented with a tumor on her colon.

Together, her team determined that the surgical priority was Marlene's colon, followed by her breast. Dr. Goldstein started Marlene on a course of hormone therapy with the objective of reducing the size of the tumor prior to colon surgery. “It was so scary because I never had any symptoms in my colon area. No pain, no bloating – nothing,” she adds.

Dr. Sigurdson successfully removed the tumor from Marlene’s colon. “I recovered from that surgery and I felt like everything was going to be okay,” she recalls.

Three months later, in May, 2014, Dr. Bleicher performed a lumpectomy. “Dr. Bleicher did a remarkable job,” she says. “It’s barely noticeable and other doctors who have seen my breast have told me how great the surgeon’s work was.” Looking back, Marlene says she truly appreciated the team approach of Fox Chase. “It’s wonderful how Fox Chase coordinates all the appointments and gave me peace of mind." 

Marlene is grateful to her Fox Chase team. "I was so appreciative of being able to keep my breast. I know that Fox Chase is a safe, caring place for me," she adds. "The doctors at Fox Chase took care of two cancers and today I am cancer-free."

Marlene and her husband have a grown daughter and son. What kept her going, on tough days, and through her surgeries and treatments, is her seven-year-old granddaughter. “I would think about how much I love her and want to be here for her and she kept my spirits up,” she shares.

Looking back, she appreciates everyone who played a role in her healthcare, including all of her doctors, the infusion room staff, entire hospital staff, office receptionists, diagnostic testing staff, the learning fellows from medical schools and the nurses within her doctors’ offices. "Everyone at Fox Chase cares and is compassionate. I know that Fox Chase is focused on cancer treatment, but they are also focused on patients who are battling cancer."

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